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Student Unions

students unionStudents’ unions can help you with everything from dealing with your landlord to getting a cheap drink. Read on to find out more.

What is a students’ union?

Most universities and a lot of colleges in the UK have a students’ union. This is an organisation which looks after the rights of students, and is run by students and ex-students who are elected to the posts. Students’ unions are independent of universities and colleges, and are there to give advice on things like health, finance and job hunting, and provide extra support for international students and students with disabilities, amongst others.

Many students’ unions have their own students’ union building – often also called ‘the union’ – on or near campus. As well as the students’ union offices, union buildings often have shops, cafes and bars for students, and are also where many student clubs and societies are based.

What is the NUS?

The majority of students’ unions belong to the National Union of Students (NUS). This is an organisation which represents students at a national level, speaking out for them on issues such as tuition fees, and other campaigns.

The NUS also issues NUS Extra cards, which students can use to get discounts in shops and other places. NUS Extra cards cost £11 and are available to any current student aged 16 or over, and you can either apply online or at your union offices.

How do I join?

You will automatically become a member of the students’ union when you enrol at most universities. The students’ union will normally have a stand during fresher’s week where you can find out more information, or you can pop into the students’ union building to ask any questions.

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